The Strategic Value of Unrealistic Goals - Accounting meets Vision & Innovation | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"'Strategic intent" lets companies make big, bold bets, regardless of resources.'"

   

The author, Vijay Govindarajan, went from professor of accounting to a new role as researcher on strategy and innovation, based on an article "Strategic Intent" by Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad's circa 1989.

    

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Strategic intent takes the long view - to operate from the future backward, disregarding the resource scarcity of the present.

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His point is huge for innovation to succeed:  

   

  • Strategic intent takes the long view -  to operate from the future backward, disregarding the resource scarcity of the present.
   

Excerpts:

   
There are two views on strategy. The conventional view is that the firm should assess its resources and match resources with opportunities.

   

  • If Canon had followed that advice in the early 1970s, it would have never taken on Xerox. 
   

Hamel and Prahalad have an entirely different point of view. According to them, the firm should expand its resource base to meet its ambition.

   

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...[a] firm should expand its resource base to meet its ambition

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...In accounting, we always argued that "realistic" goals are the best, since they are achievable and as such are better motivators. I've even contributed to this literature on goal setting.

   

But according to Prahalad and Hamel, firms should set unrealistic goals, not realistic goals.

    

...the more I reflected on the article, the more it made sense. Realistic goals promote incremental moves; only unrealistic goals provoke breakthrough thinking.

   

JFK's audacious goal in the early 1960s when the U.S. fell behind the Soviet Union in the technology race: "this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."

   

  • JFK's intent produced many breakthrough technologies.

   

In a similar way, "Strategic Intent" inspired me to think about mountains and not molehills as I shaped my research agenda around breakthrough innovation.

   

Read the full article here:

   

From Deb, a companion article on Strategic Agility is here.   Regarding resources, note:

   

  • Resource Fluidity: the internal capability to reconfigure business systems and redeploy resources rapidly,
   
  • Collective Commitment e.g. Leadership Unity: the ability of the top team to make bold decisions –fast, without being bogged in “win-lose” politics at the top.

Via Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)